Women are can react strongly when they see how men handle breakups – especially when it is her guy! – as it is quite different from women. The worst thing of all is to see him go straight out and replace her.
It’s this emotional laceration, more than anything else; that makes women utter those clichés: “As soon as a guy’s relationship ends, he gets a replacement” or “He’s just doing it to spite me” or “Men don’t care about relationships”.
A woman will spend time mourning a lost relationship. She’ll mull over what went wrong, how things might have been different if she hadn’t done this, or he hadn’t done that. She’ll wonder how long it’ll take her to get over it, or whether they could get back together.
How CAN He Just Not Care?
When guys don’t do the same, it feels almost like another betrayal. He’s supposed to have loved you, as much as you loved him. He owes you a period of grief and heartbreak. Instead he’s out on the town, chasing other women.
The truth is that breakups are hard on most guys. Although in some ways they do appear to get over it more easily, especially on the surface, the suicide rate among single men (especially young men) is much higher than among women, which tells its own story.
Men have their own ways of coping with tough and painful emotional experiences, and for most of the time they will put on a good show of being fine and moving on. But what goes on inside is a little more complicated.
How Men Handle Breakups – It’s the Old Emotions Thing…
Because men really don’t spend much time dwelling on their feelings, they have a remarkable ability to “stuff them down” and push them to one side. How men handle breakups is to use this talent to avoid thinking about it as much as possible. It’s not that they don’t care or they’re not bereft, it’s just that they find strong emotions too unfamiliar and hard to handle, so they simply avoid them as much as they can.
Many women love to talk about their love lives and find comfort in talking about their broken relationship ad nauseam, dissecting it, talking about how bad they are feeling, examining the ruins from every angle. How men handle breakups is usually the exact opposite. Some men will moon over their loss, and go on and on how perfect their ex was, or how impossible she was, but a lot of men don’t. If they do mention their ex, it will to say what a good thing it is that they broke up, and how great it is to be free again.
But most of the time they will use every means they can to stop themselves thinking about it.
Some of these methods are predictable, some are more esoteric and some are downright weird. Here are 10 ways men handle breakups when they don’t want to think about their ex relationship.
1. Spend Time With Friends
This is the most reliable way to stop himself brooding. Bar crawls, poker nights, sports fixtures and taking part in sports are all familiar ways men relax together. The company and the physical exertion are both useful ways of taking his mind off his problems. It may also the only way (if he is the expansive sort) he can get his friends to spend time with him after he’s exhausted their patience with his ruminations over his ex.
2. Get Drunk
The advantage of bars is that they sell lots of anaesthetising alcohol. Lots of men take to drinking more than usual after a breakup. And if they do talk to their friends about how much they are hurting, it’s often when they are drunk.
3. Go to Parties and Clubs
Loud music, crowds and the manic energy of clubs and parties are a favourite with younger men – or men going through a mid-life crisis. There’s plenty of booze, lots of people around, the chance to meet new women and unlimited energy release through shaking it about on the dance floor (yes, even men who usually hate dancing). It works brilliantly until the women he’s hitting on reject him. That’s something he just doesn’t need right now.
4. Start Dating
Ah, the failsafe cure for breakups. A man does this because he doesn’t want to be alone, facing the reality of the breakup and having to cope with it. It also boosts his ego by giving him the feminine validation he has lost from you. His wounded self-esteem needs this balm, and the sex feels good too. Some men can come to depend on this method, so that they never learn to be single. This does nothing to turn him into a desirable boyfriend.
5. Change Jobs or Work Harder
A change is as good as a rest, and the more changes men can make in their lives, the fewer associations they will have left with their ex. A new job is a challenge which will demand more attention than the old one, and give them a whole new change of scene. If they can’t move jobs, they may just spend more time on the current one, working on a project or promotion that will absorb them and give them a success. This is a great solace to a man whose self-esteem has been battered by failure and rejection. Sometimes a man will just spend a lot of time doing something absorbing, but completely useless. How else does someone become at expert on matchboxes, postage stamps or trainspotting?
6. Comfort Eat
This is something both men and women do. Junk food is quick, easy, filling and fattening, and there is an unlimited supply – just order ALL the takeout. Men with this problem tend to live in places littered with used food cartons, interspersed with empty beer and whisky bottles (only women drink wine after breakups).
7. Surf the TV or the Internet
Blanket TV watching, mindless channel switching and internet surfing can distract for hours, especially for natural couch potatoes. Online casinos and chat rooms are other ways of passing the time. The internet is a common form of escapism for the lonely and the heartbroken. Or else he’ll become the world’s greatest living expert at some arcane computer game.
8. Work Out More
Men who habitually train will probably ramp up their workouts after a breakup, and might take up a new sport too. The physical pain of putting himself through an extreme workout can block out the mental pain of memories; and learning a new sport – especially a dangerous one – doesn’t just distract, it also provides new experiences to think about too.
9. Travel for Work or Pleasure
Travelling to new places is a great way of leaving the past behind and creating new and better memories. New places, new people and new cultures shake you out of your old rut and make you feel more alive and aware. This is a clever way to start out on a new life, although sometimes it can create the illusion that activity equals progress or happiness.
10. Grow a Beard
Yes, some men really do this, because they’re too broken up to shave, or because their ex hated beards. That’ll show her!
How Men Handle Breakups – It’s Not Our Way
What you won’t find many men doing is constantly ruminating over what went wrong. Why is that?
Men like to live their lives on an even emotional keel. They like calm, peaceful and laid-back, interspersed now and them with a good laugh. They absolutely don’t want to do anything that they know will take them into an emotional swamp of pain or recrimination.
The only extreme emotions most men are comfortable feeling is when their team wins (or loses).
That’s why they never want to talk to you about the breakup or explain what really went wrong. Saying “It’s not you, it’s me” is much easier for him than telling you exactly how you failed to be the woman he wanted. If he did that, you’d probably cry and the scene would end up as just the kind of hideously upsetting drama he’s desperate to avoid.
To some women it might sound as if how men handle breakups is to spend the first months afterwards running away. But really it’s just their way of coping with a painful period in their lives and finding a way to move on. As they see it, it’s not helpful to dwell endlessly on the past: it isn’t the way to future happiness and they’d rather just try to think about it as little as possible.
So when his first reaction is to shack up with somebody else, it’s probably in pursuit of this kind of amnesia.
I once had a relationship with man who, many years later, told me he had never forgotten it and that nothing else had ever measured up. But whenever I saw him, he was ALWAYS with somebody else. To me it was a no-brainer: if I had been that great, why was he wasting his time on something second-rate?
Why Didn’t He Try Harder?
The truth is that a woman wants a man who is prepared to fight for her love. We are forever being disappointed by men who don’t seem to try to win us over, or win us back, or even to win us at all. So often they seem to give up so easily. And by going out and finding (or just looking for) someone else, they’re not just giving up on you without a fight, they’re rubbing your nose in it too.
When a man “succeeds” with a woman, even if that success was just getting her number, he feels great, heroic, masculine, successful. He is Don Juan, Casanova, James Bond – he is superman.
But when a woman finally succeeds in chasing a man down, she feels – empty. She had to do his job for him. She didn’t get to fulfill her feminine role. For her the whole thing is unsatisfactory, a bit of a let-down. She feels flat. It wasn’t a great romantic moment.
The Man’s View – My Take On It
A man is emotionally wrecked by a breakup to the extent to which he feels he sold himself out.
The freedom to live his life as he wants is very important to a man. It’s one of his chief fears about commitment – will he have to compromise who he really is, his ambitions, his values?
Sometimes in a relationship a guy will start to compromise these. His girlfriend complains he spends too much time at work, doesn’t like some of his friends, objects to or diminishes his hobbies, or tries to distance him from his family. If he wants to keep her, he gives in to some of this manipulation.
Being cheated on will have a similar effect. He pledged himself to this woman and now she has betrayed him.
So he looks at himself and he doesn’t like what he has become, and what “love” has done to him. This is how a man who has been wounded becomes distrustful of risking his heart again. Loving a woman has led him to this place, and he doesn’t want to go there again.
So he starts to play the field, or if he’s not that kind of guy, he settles for a woman he likes but who isn’t his dream woman. As long as he doesn’t get too emotionally involved with her, he can’t be so easily manipulated, and it won’t hurt him so much when things go wrong.
But What About YOU?
OK, so your ex may be feeling a lot worse than you thought. But really that’s not the most important thing here. What matters is how YOU feel. And you feel bad because your ex isn’t behaving as a decently bereft and respectful ex should.
So you have to stop thinking about him.
Leave him to do his thing. How do you know that he doesn’t feel completely wrecked right now?
You don’t…and your mission now is to look after yourself. You want to remember the things that made you happy, and do more of them. Whether your boyfriend is over it or not isn’t really important. Of course, it may help temporarily to know that he is pining, but how will that knowledge get you to a good place?
It won’t, and you are better off not thinking about it. Concentrate instead on the things that make you happy, and which will help you to recover from the breakup. You aim now is to get yourself into a stable and healthy mental place, from where in time you will be able to move on to a happy and long-lasting relationship.
So What’s the Outlook For Getting Him Back?
When a man ends a relationship, he might do it with a heavy heart, or he might be looking forward to get back on the dating scene. After all, there are hundreds of women out there and his friends are assuring him there’s plenty more fish in the sea. A different woman every night! Life is going to be great!
Reality is usually nothing like that. It takes time to rebuild the kind of intimacy he shared with his ex, and that’s if he can find a woman he actually wants to date (rather than just sleep with). And for lots of men, finding that woman isn’t fun; it’s work. It means having to meet women somehow, approach them, get their number, get that first date…
The truth is that men hate having to start again.
Some hate it so much that they end up going back their ex because, well, she’s available, it’s easier than finding someone new and at least she’s better than nothing. They settle for the safe, the known, the easy option. You don’t want to have him back on those terms.
Whatever he’s doing now isn’t really important for your future. What matters is to get yourself into a place where you can make the right decision about whether you should try to get him back. It’s YOUR happiness that matters now.
To get to that place you may need some help. I have created a guide exactly for this, a guide which will help you to get your ex boyfriend back. Check it out below.